From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....


Friday, July 29, 2011

Must Watch: The Secret Circle

I'm such a television addict. If I didn't read so much, I might feel guilty about it.

The fall television season is upon us, and I'm already making out my schedule of returning favorites and premieres that I can't miss!

On that list is The Secret Circle on the CW!

Synopsis:
Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl - until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington - the town her mother left so many years before - where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they've been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them - until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it's not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother's childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don't yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana's father and Faye's mother - and that Cassie's mother's death might not have been an accident.

Based on the novels by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries), the show premieres Thursday, September 15 @ 9/8 central (check your local listings).




For more information on The Secret Circle & L.J. Smith, visit:
cwtv.com
ljanesmith.net


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Meet Gale & Peeta!

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly hits newsstands Friday, July 29 and features Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark) and Liam Hemsworth (Gale) from the Hunger Games movie. Nice!

For more information on the feature, visit:
popwatch.ew.com

Becca Fitzpatrick: Crescendo

I loved Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush (you can read my review HERE), so I knew I had to read Crescendo.

When we last saw Nora Grey, someone had tried to kill her and she had just started a relationship with her guardian angel Patch (but don't let the word "angel" fool you--he's anything but angelic).

Now she's juggling summer school, a job search, and a social life.  Patch seems distant. In fact, he seems interested in someone else altogether. An old family friend, Scott Parnell, is back in town, and Nora can't help but feel he's dangerous. And, to add to her stress and confusion, she can't stop having visions of her father's murder. Clearly, things aren't going to get easier for her in this sequel.

She quickly becomes obsessed with finding out more about the day her father was murdered and her Nephilim blood line and dives head-first into solving the mystery. Alone. With each question answered, Nora puts herself, her friends, and her family in danger. 

Honestly, the book took a while to get going, and I put it to the side more than once to read something else. But once the action picked up, it was heart-pounding and captivating until its jarring conclusion. I stayed up very late, willing my eyelids to stay open, because I couldn't wait until the next day to find out how it ended.

Crescendo has a little bit of everything -- angst, romance, suspense, and a sympathetic heroine -- and is definitely worth a read. I'm glad I stuck with it!

I'm looking forward to the publication of Silence in October.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Must Read: Small Town Sinners

I've never read any of Melissa Walker's books, but Small Town Sinners has caught my attention!

Synopsis:
Lacey Anne Byer is a perennial good girl and lifelong member of the House of Enlightenment, the Evangelical church in her small town. With her driver's license in hand and the chance to try out for a lead role in Hell House, her church's annual haunted house of sin, Lacey's junior year is looking promising. But when a cute new stranger comes to town, something begins to stir inside her. Ty Davis doesn't know the sweet, shy Lacey Anne Byer everyone else does. With Ty, Lacey could reinvent herself. As her feelings for Ty make Lacey test her boundaries, events surrounding Hell House make her question her religion.

Melissa Walker has crafted the perfect balance of engrossing, thought-provoking topics and relatable, likable characters. Set against the backdrop of extreme religion, Small Town Sinners is foremost a universal story of first love and finding yourself, and it will stay with readers long after the last page.




For more information on Melissa Walker, visit:
@melissacwalker
melissacwalker.com

Friday, July 22, 2011

Must Read: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove

Due to the success of Lauren Kate's Fallen series, one of her previous books, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove (originally published in 2009), is getting a second chance in paperback. And I really want to read it!

Synopsis:
A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake


Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school's Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn't share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie's nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party - when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.


From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should've messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.


Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.

For more information on Lauren Kate, visit:
@laurenkatebooks
laurenkatebooks.net

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sara Shepard: The Lying Game

Though I didn't review the books, I devoured Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series last summer. It was beyond addictive. So there was no doubt in my mind that I'd read The Lying Game. And guess what? It's just as addictive!

Emma Paxton longs for the feeling of connection that comes with family. Her mother abandoned her when she was five years old, forcing her to live in foster homes.


One afternoon, her foster brother shows her a disturbing online video, featuring a girl who looks just like her. Could it be that Emma has a long-lost twin sister? Realizing she has nothing to lose, she decides to hop a bus, travel across the country, and meet her twin in person.

Sutton Mercer may look like Emma, but that's where the similarities end. Sutton has grown up in a life of privilege, surrounded by a supportive family, a doting boyfriend, and devoted best friends.


Instead of a happy reunion, Emma finds that Sutton is missing. Even more perplexing, Sutton's family and friends believe Emma is Sutton. Now Emma must play the part of a girl she knows nothing about while trying to solve the mystery of her disappearance. It's not long before she discovers that Sutton and her friends are entitled mean girls who play horrible pranks on everyone around them.

Is Sutton's disappearance a prank?

Or did someone get the ultimate revenge?

The Lying Game was definitely an edge-of-your-seat page-turner. The tension was palpable. The investigation into Sutton's disappearance was thrilling. The characters were downright diabolical.

My only complaint was that it didn't give me all the answers I wanted. Needless to say, I cannot wait to read the sequel Never Have I Ever in August.

For more information on Sara Shepard, visit:
@sarabooks
prettylittleliars.com/the-lying-game

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Coming Soon: Out of Oz

Out of Oz, the final volume in Gregory Maguire's Wicked Years, will be published on November 1. Recently, he revealed the cover art on his Facebook page. I like it! And I cannot wait to read this book, even though I'll be so sad to see it end.

From Library Journal (via BarnesandNoble.com):
Back in 1995, Maguire kicked off a whole series (and a Tony Award-winning musical) with Wicked, the story of Oz told from an entirely new perspective. Now he's bringing the series to a close. With the Emerald City preparing to conquer Munchkinland, Oz isn't exactly showing its rainbow colors. Don't miss; with a one-day laydown on 11/1/11, a 400,000-copy first printing, and a six-city tour. 


For more information on Gregory Maguire, visit:
facebook.com/GregoryMaguire
gregorymaguire.com



Monday, July 18, 2011

The Green Valley Book Fair

Last Wednesday, I traveled to Mt. Crawford, VA to attend The Green Valley Book Fair, which had over 500,000 new books discounted 60%-90% off retail price. It was like a little piece of heaven on earth. I spent hours walking around the enormous store and could have stayed the entire day.

I spent less than $30 for a decent stack of books.

 

I'm definitely going back in the fall.

For more information on The Green Valley Book Fair, visit:
gvbookfair.com

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


It's opening weekend for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Like every other diehard fan, I'll be there.

There was a certain feeling of finality when I finished the book. But this? This is really the end. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I know when it ends, the credits start to roll, and the house lights come up, I'm going to just sit there. Stunned. And in denial.

The Harry Potter series brought so much joy to my life. But the Deathly Hallows is special to me. It was published when my Mom was recovering from a second operation and tough hospital stay (she spent the entire year battling cancer). We read together. We discussed it. We imagined what the movie would be like. And my Mom said she was so grateful for the book because it gave her something to look forward to and focus on. More importantly, it brought her joy in a very dark time.

I'm looking forward to sitting by her side and watching the movie.

Thank you JK Rowling, for great storytelling, wonderful characters, joy, and, most of all, magic.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Flashback Friday: My Mother Was Never A Kid

I know I'm aging myself by saying this, but when I was a little girl, my favorite ABC After School Special was "My Mother Was Never A Kid." I remember watching it every time it aired and recording it so I could watch it over and over again. I wore that recording out!


Recently, I discovered that "My Mother Was Never A Kid" was based on the book Hangin' out with Cici by Francine Pascal (first published in 1977). I knew I had to find this book and read it. And, lucky for me, I have a very sweet friend named Lori who found a copy of the book (renamed & repackaged through the years) and sent it my way. Score!

Victoria Martin is almost fourteen years old and believes that entitles her to a few things -- a little more freedom to come and go as she pleases, more parties and good times with her friends, and less nagging from her mom about cleaning her room and getting good grades. Instead, she gets more lectures and punishments. Her mom seems more overbearing than ever. Clearly, her mom doesn't remember what it was like to be a teenager. If she was ever a teenager at all.

Needless to say, Victoria is looking forward to getting away from New York and visiting her cousin Liz in Philadelphia for the weekend. She can't wait to have fun without her mom watching her every move. Instead, she gets into a bit of trouble at a party and is sent back to New York on the next train. Her mom is so mad. Victoria knows she's really going to get yelled at good and loud this time.

But something strange happens on the train. The lights start to flicker, and when Victoria  arrives in New York the train station looks different. In fact, the people look different. It's like the train dropped her off in a different decade.

That's where she meets Cici, a boisterous and outgoing girl who helps Victoria navigate through the strange surroundings, takes her on some crazy-cool adventures, and becomes a great friend.

But Victoria can't shake the fact that she's met Cici before....

This book was so much fun! It brought back so many childhood memories. I still related to Victoria and her struggle to get a little understanding from her mom. That was a universal theme in YA Fiction from the '70s, and it will always be relevant to teenagers regardless of the decade in which they live. I definitely think the story held up well over the years.

Now, I need to find a DVD of the After School Special AND read the rest of the Victoria Martin Trilogy.

What a surprising find and a great read!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

"It was a blessing and also a curse
of handwritten letters that, unlike email,
you couldn't obsessively reread
what you'd written after you'd sent it.
You couldn't attempt to unsend it.
Once you'd sent it, it was gone.
It was an object that no longer
belonged to you,
but belonged to your recipient
to do with what he would.
You tended to remember the feeling
of what you'd said more than the words.
You gave the object away,
and left yourself with the memory.
That was what it was go give."

~ Ann Brashares (Sisterhood Everlasting)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Must Read: Pandemonium

Although publication isn't expected until Mach 2012, Goodreads has a synopsis and a cover for Pandemonium, the follow-up to Lauren Oliver's Delirium (you can read my review of Delirium HERE).

Can't wait!

Synopsis:
Lauren Oliver captivated readers with Delirium, the first book in a thrilling dystopian trilogy in which Lena Haloway dared to fall in love with Alex and escape the cure, the government-mandated procedure that renders a person immune to the disease of love. Lena and Alex staked their lives on leaving their oppressive society, but only Lena broke free.


Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.


Full of danger, forbidden romance, and exquisite writing, Lauren Oliver’s sequel to Delirium races forward at a breathtaking pace and is sure to appeal to fans who crave the high-stakes action of The Hunger Games and the bittersweet love story of Romeo & Juliet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Trailer Tuesday: The Lying Game

I recently finished reading The Lying Game by Sara Shepardd (review coming soon) and, even though the series looks a bit different from the novel, I'm really starting to get excited for the August 15th premiere on ABC Family.




For more on the TV series, visit:
abcfamily.go.com/shows/lying-game

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ann Brashares: Sisterhood Everlasting

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares is one of my favorite series of all time. I love the characters. I care about them like they're my friends. And, while I was sad the series came to an end in 2007, I felt content. The girls were okay. Everything was going to be fine.

I was surprised when I heard about the publication of Sisterhood Everlasting, but excitedly scooped it up. I couldn't wait to reunite with my friends!

It's ten years later. The traveling pants are long gone.

The girls are all grown up and discovering who they are and what they want. Carmen is a very successful actress in New York. And she's engaged! Lena teaches art in Rhode Island and still misses Kostos. Bridget lives in San Francisco with her boyfriend Eric, but still feels as unsettled as ever. Tibby lives in Australia with her boyfriend Brian.

The sisterhood isn't as strong as it once was.

The distance is more than just geographical, it's emotional. Tibby wants to bridge the distance and sends plane tickets to her friends, inviting them to reunite in Greece. The girls are excited for the trip and looking forward to rekindling their friendship. Instead, they're met with a tragedy that will forever change their lives. And the sisterhood.

Sisterhood Everlasting is a story fraught with heartbreak,  grief, and loss. I spent the entire book in shock. There were times I wanted to stop reading. There were times I wanted to throw the book in a nearby creek. But I somehow found a way to struggle through.

While all the important elements from the previous novels were still there--love, friendship, and finding your place in this world--there was a gaping hole in the sisterhood (and my heat).

I credit Ann Brashares for creating such lovable, irreplaceable characters and stirring up so many emotions. Clearly, she's a great writer. But I can't help by wonder why this story had to be told and why it had to end this way?

It was an emotional roller-coaster ride that I still haven't fully recovered from. I'm deeply ensconced in the anger phase of the grieving process. I will never accept this ending.

I wish I could un-read this book.

For more information on Ann Brashares, vist:
@AnnBrashares
annbrashares.com

Friday, July 8, 2011

Coming Soon: The Last Echo

If you haven't been keeping tabs on Kimberly Derting's blog, you're missing out! She revealed the title and cover for the third book in The Body Finder series.

Even better, she shared a snippet from the cover of The Last Echo, which you can check out by CLICKING HERE.

I really like this gorgeous purple cover and cannot wait to read the book!




For more information on Kimberly Derting, visit:
@kimberlyderting
kimberlyderting.com

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Photo credit: Image After via the National Science Foundation website.
 "But even the waves that crash down on the beach start out as tiny ripples, far out at sea.

They just gain strength over time."

~ Jessi Kirby (Moonglass)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Megan McCafferty: Bumped

I'm such a big fan of Megan McCafferty's Jessica Darling series that I'll read anything she writes without hesitation. That's how Bumped found its way into my Barnes & Noble shopping cart one afternoon.

I had no idea I was about to be taken on a journey that stirred up a plethora of emotions, both positive and negative, with each page.

If you're over the age of 18 and want to have a baby, forget about it. In this dystopian world, a virus has infected everyone over the age of 18, leaving them unable to reproduce. If you want children, you're at the mercy of teenage girls who are treated like the most important people in the world and have turned "bumping" and "breeding" into prosperous careers.

The story follows sixteen-year-old twins Melody and Harmony, who were separated at birth.

Harmony was raised in "Goodside," a super religious community where they follow the Bible word for word and never question what it tells them to do. Harmony, like other girls in the community, has spent her entire life preparing to be a good wife and mother. She believes that "bumping" with strangers and profiting from it is a sin. It's these feelings that send her running from "Goodside" and to Melody. Not only does she want to meet her lost twin, she wants to save her and bring her to "Goodside."


Melody, growing up in a very different community, has been groomed to be a Reproduction Professional. She must keep a good profile of looks, health, and intelligence to lure possible clients seeking a baby of their very own. Having landed a lucrative contract with a very wealthy couple, she's eagerly awaiting to find out the guy she's been matched with and when they will "bump." Waiting isn't easy. Her eighteenth birthday is less than two years away, all of her friends are procreating (and profiting), her parents are pressuring her, and she's fighting an undeniable attraction to her best friend (a boy who has been deemed not fit for profitable breeding).When Harmony shows up on her front doorstep, things become even more confusing and stressful.

The alternating chapters allows readers to view the sisters' worlds through very different perspectives, which was both interesting and upsetting. The depth of character, moral struggle, and bond of sisterhood was compelling.

But I can't lie. Bumped was disturbing. I was seething with anger more than once. Still, I found it absolutely alluring and couldn't stop reading. I was so involved in the story that the ending came too soon.

For more information on Megan McCafferty, visit:
@meganmccafferty
meganmccafferty.com

Monday, July 4, 2011

Must Read: The Day Before

I'm still waiting for my library to get Chasing Brooklyn and now I have another Lisa Schroeder book--The Day Before--to add to my "must read" list! It sounds so good! And I love a good beach-themed read during the summertime.

Synopsis:
Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now--he’s living each moment like it’s his last.








For more information on Lisa Schroeder, visit:
@lisa_schroeder
lisaschroederbooks.com

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Independence

Photo courtesy of Heather of SPLANEYO via The Cupcake Blog.

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Jessi Kirby: Moonglass

When summer comes around, and I'm faced with yet another year that lacks vacation plans, I search for beach-themed books to help me escape to the ocean for a few days. I was scanning the bookshelves at a local bookstore, carefully trying to find the perfect book, when I stumbled upon Moonglass by Jessi Kirby. The cover made me feel tranquil, like I was at the beach. And that's all it took. I knew I had found what I was looking for.

Anna Ryan was only seven years old when her mother mysteriously drowned. She struggles daily with memories and confusion about that awful night.  Worse, the distance between Anna and her father has been growing at a pretty steady pace ever since. When her dad takes a lifeguard job at a southern California beach, forcing Anna to move away from her home and friends, that distance only gets bigger.

Though she starts off as a loner, running the beach each morning (running away from her memories), Anna starts to form friendships and connections. She also meets and falls for Tyler, a lifeguard who has been warned that the boss's daughter is off limits, which makes dating a bit of a challenge.

She even finds herself combing the beach for seaglass, a hobby she once shared with her mother. They named the pieces they found at night moonglass.

But as Anna becomes comfortable with her surroundings and starts to accept her new life, she discovers painful secrets about her mother's past. The most surprising of all is that she's living on the very beach where her parents met and fell in love. The house next door? Her mother used to live there. It's hard to escape the past when she's confronted with it at every turn.

Anna wants answers, but her dad won't talk. So she and Tyler sneak around late at night, exploring the beach and its abandoned houses. With every step, she gets closer to her mother. And every answer she unearths stirs up a memories of the night her mother died. And Anna is angry.

Moonglass is a convincing first novel, complete with lovable characters, life-changing secrets and tragedies, and summer romance.

What I liked best was the first-person narrative. The descriptions were so lovely. And so realistic! I could picture the location, feel sand between my toes, smell the salty air, and hear the waves crashing on the shore. The writing was as beautiful as the cover.

Just like seaglass, the novel was a sparkling, unexpected treasure.


For more information Jessi Kirby, visit:
@JessiKirby
jessikirby.com
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